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An extraordinary lack of commitment from the new Minister for Children indicates the lack of clarity this new Government has around the protection of some of our most vulnerable, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“This week I questioned Tracy Martin about her views on Articles 7 and 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNROC) which confirm a child’s ability to know and be connected to their parents.

“Ms Martin responded that it is generally accepted that every child has the right to know their whakapapa.”

“I also asked whether New Zealand First will, therefore, support Labour’s plans to roll back sanctions in the social welfare system. The public deserves to know whether New Zealand First supports repealing the obligation for women applying for a sole parent benefit to name the fathers of their children.

“Ms Martin obfuscated and did not answer the question.

“This is yet more confusion from the Coalition. On one hand, Labour says mothers seeking a benefit shouldn’t have to name the father and, on the other hand, New Zealand First has confirmed it supports the UNROC to know who their father is,” Ms Upston says.

“I think the public deserves to know whether New Zealand First believes that parents should be financially responsible for their own children.

National believes Labour’s proposal to remove this obligation is a major step backwards.

“There are adequate protections in place for Mums on benefits who, for their own safety or the safety of their children, don’t wish to - or are unable to - name the father. Outside of those exemptions, hardworking Kiwis can rightly expect parents to meet their obligations and support their children without others having to pick up the tab.”

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